August 21 message for students from Vice President for Student Life Jon Dooley

Throughout the fall semester, Vice President for Student Life Jon Dooley is providing regular email update messages to keep students and parents informed about the efforts related to COVID-19.

Dear students,

Thank you for contributing to a successful start to fall semester. During the move-in process and start of classes you demonstrated that you understand the serious challenge facing our community. It has been heartening to see so many students on campus making great choices – consistently wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and finding ways to be together that don’t jeopardize the health and safety of our community.

Decisions this week by UNC-Chapel Hill, NC State University and other institutions to abandon in-person classes are a stark reminder of the consequences of careless behavior.  Right now we are enjoying the privilege of living, learning and working on campus at Elon. This will continue only if we remain vigilant and every one of us does our part. Making the right choices “most of the time” won’t work. A single event or gathering can spark a cluster of infections that could spread quickly and force decisions that none of us want. YOU have a personal responsibility to protect our community health.

Updated guidance

Please take a moment to read and understand updated guidance provided to colleges from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. I hope this will help clarify some important issues:

  • Universal masking: Please wear your face covering any time you are away from your room, even outdoors. We have seen some groups of students walking together outdoors without masks. Please make a personal commitment to wear your mask any time you are near other people.
  • Eating and masks: When you need to lower your mask to eat or drink, you MUST maintain at least a six-foot distance from others, even when you are outdoors. Mealtime does not suspend the threat of the virus. Lower your mask only when necessary and stay apart from others when you do.
  • Gatherings:  Please heed the executive orders on mass gatherings, maintaining group sizes (with everyone wearing masks) to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Local police are issuing citations to those violating executive orders on mass gatherings and we will also take action through Elon student conduct policies, including suspension. There can be no warnings or second chances.

Remember that the point underlying this order is not just the size of the group – even in smaller settings you should not socialize with others without wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance. The virus doesn’t care how large or small your group is, and it only takes a few cases from an ill-conceived social event to spread quickly.

This is the first full weekend of fall semester – a good time to set the tone and demonstrate our community’s commitment to maintain our in-person campus experience. We can do this. The choice is in our hands.

Wishing you a healthy and safe weekend and continued success for the semester.

Dr. Jon Dooley

Vice President for Student Life